So, as I have mentioned several times I went to Paris on Friday through to Sunday for the consecration of our (then) Bishop-Elect Mark Edington. It was a great weekend.
Friday morning was a little fraught – I hadn’t packed and wanted to leave at 9.00 to give myself time to drive to Vichy and relax for my 10.50 train. I found I needed to go to the chemist and Mr FD asked me to book the car in for a service, so I started to get flustered – Would I have enough time? Well, of course I did, and I arrived at Vichy with about 30 minutes to spare. This was fine, as it meant I wasn’t running or hurrying.
The journey was fine, and I found my way safely to the correct Metro station. I know the route better now, having taken it several times over the past couple of years, so there was no panic. Also, there were no time pressures, as I knew that we couldn’t start preparing the food until 3.00, and that gave me an hour to get to the Cathedral. Also, it didn’t matter if I was late.
People were arriving with lots of different kinds of food from their local area – the Convocation has churches in several different countries, so there was a wide variety of food: Italian salami and parmesan, German sausage, Belgian chocolates, pretzels and dip and lots more! I had brought Salers cheese and Bleu d’Auvergne cheese, and Laurie from church, travelling separately, brought the St Nectaire. I also took a couple of jars of home made apple-and-marrow chutney to go with the Salers cheese. I set to, slicing baguette, smearing chutney, cutting cheese, and soon the platters of cheesy canapés were mounting up.
Don’t tell Laurie I’ve put this on the blog – it’s not a flattering photo of her. She’s much nicer looking!!
After about two hours of slicing, smearing, cutting etc the food was looking more and more delicious. This is just a small proportion of it all:
Meanwhile a rehearsal for the next day’s consecration was going on, so after we’d finished preparing the food, we wandered into the nave to watch proceedings.
Here is Mark trying on the cope, one of the gifts given to him by the Convocation, his family, friends and colleagues.
Then the party started! I was (as I’ve said in another post) a “responsible person” for one of the tables, so I couldn’t mingle quite as much as I might have wanted to, but it was still fun. Gifts were given to Pierre, our departing Bishop, and to Mark. Tears were shed, speeches were given, champagne was drunk, and work well done was celebrated. I managed to eat a lot of food and even shushed a Bishop of the CofE who wouldn’t stop talking during the speeches!! The Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, was there, and several people asked him for selfies, but I came over all British and shy, so I just had a brief, rather shouted conversation wityh him (he was standing quite close to the very good but rather noisy music group)
Then Gaelle, from Emmanuel Church, Geneva, and I headed back with our hosts to the beautiful apartment where we were staying. We had another couple of glasses of wine before heading to bed.
This is the view of the Eiffel Tower from Nancy and Neil’s apartment:
The consecration service was at 11.00 so I stayed in the apartment and read for a while, until it was time to walk along the banks of the Seine to the Cathedral
Looking back to the Eiffel Tower, with the Russian Orthodox cathedral in the foreground
I’m heading to that spire!
It was 10.00 by the time I got there and already the place was filling up…
I was in the procession as a member of one of the committees (even though I'(d had to drop out) so we gathered in the courtyard ready for the beginning of the service. It was a splendid sight, all the Bishops in their beautiful clothes, and Mark dressed (at this stage) very simply in his white alb. Then we were off!
The ceremony was wonderful. There were several very moving moments – singing the Taizé chant “Venite Sancte Spiritus” as the Bishops laid their hands on Mark, the moment when his wife, Judy, handed him his mitre (there seemed to be a very private moment pass between them) and when Pierre handed over the crozier to his successor. This crozier was commissioned by Pierre and has embedded in the staff a little cross made of a local wood for each church and mission in the Convocation; it is a very symbolic thing, and it was obviously an emotional moment for Pierre and for Mark.
There are more photos of the occasion if you follow this link
Afterwards the Cathedral catering staff laid on another fine spread of sandwiches and other goodies. It was termed “a light lunch” but it was, in fact, very generous! I took the opportunity to congratulate Mark, as he would be leaving that day to go to Munich – apparently it was something to do with not being in the same place as the Presiding Bishop (I think!)
By the time lunch was finished it was 3.00. I wasn’t sure what to do, so thought about visiting the Museum of Modern Art – it was free, so I didn’t feel bad that after about 30 minutes I thought “This is not impressing me, AND I’m tired!” So I went back to the apartment for a nap instead!!
I met up with Lee, Laurie and Mary-Ellen for a lovely dinner. I started with samosas
Then I had duck – but forgot about taking photos!! A café gourmande followed: a coffee with 3 little desserts: chocolate mousse, apple/raspberry crumble, strawberry fool. Yum!! I walked back to the apartment as it was a fairly warm night, and not too late.
Sunday morning was the day that Michael Curry was preaching in the Cathedral, so, guessing (rightly) that the church would be full, I got there early, having walked along the banks of the river again, passing this “living wall”
It was a great service, and the sermon was very good…
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then we shall have peace on earth.
After the service there was another line to meet the PB – when it was my turn I said I’d been too British to ask for a selfie before – and he said “Well, we can’t have that!” and handed my phone to one of his entourage…
I had lunch with some people from Munich – I know them from Convention, and as I walked past them outside a restaurant, they asked me to join them. A beer and a goats’ cheese salad set me up nicely! Then it was a quick trot back to the apartment to pick up my bag and then hop on the Metro. I was at Bercy station way too early, but that was OK. I sat and read until my train left. Back to Vichy just after 9.00 and home in bed by 10.30.
A truly wonderful weekend. Now the hard work begins for Mark and for his wife!